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Exploring the world of Children's books
It's been a crazy year for me here at PnM. I started down a path that sort of became a ...

Exploring the world of Children's books

It's been a crazy year for me here at PnM.

I started down a path that sort of became a lot like going down the rabbit hole. Let's just say Alice ain't got nuthin on me!

You see, it happened in February 1016. I got this crazy idea in my head to write a children's book about Phebe. So, I decided to explore it. To my surprise, it was met with good feedback and actual interest! So much so, that I've signed on with an agent. Things seemed grand! 

Then... reality.

What sells? What doesn't sell? Kids identify with this but not with that, and a whole host of complexities that have meant revision after revision. I'm still hanging in there, and I'm determined that this book will be published by a real publisher. However, how long it will take and will it even be about Phebe when I'm done? I'm not so sure.

I do know she'll be in the book and I'm trying my best to keep her relevant but I haven't even gotten to the publishers revisions.

I've started and now I have to finish. Wish me luck that it will be a book worthy of Phebe. She deserves to be a success after all she's done for me and the smiles she's created. 

Would I have done this if I knew how long and how much work it would be? Probably. I love the book, I love drawing Phebe and I love making kids laugh. So what's a gal to do? Keep going I guess. 

Meet Millie, Our Nose Work Muse
Meet Millie! Millie is the inspiration for our newest canine sport shirt "The Nose...

Meet Millie, Our Nose Work Muse

Meet Millie!

Millie is the inspiration for our newest canine sport shirt "The Nose Knows!" Nose Work has been the latest step in her growth and confidence. She's gone from abandoned pup, to blue ribbon winner and now, top model at Phebe-n-Me!

Millie’s family embraces her successes, no matter the size because she has overcome quite the rocky start in life. Her dad found her as a young puppy on a rural road, where she had been tossed out with a bag of trash. She was in such poor shape that, had he not come along when he did, she would not have survived another day.
 

Although Millie grew up to be the picture of health, she had anxiety in novel situations and was reactive when meeting new dogs. So, when nose work classes first became available where Millie lived, her mom enrolled her. The sport was touted as being one that “even reactive dogs could play.”

Now, Millie and her mom actively trial in nose work competitions. Not only does Millie love the sport, but the two of them make a great team. Millie is able to tune out the novel sights and sounds and just focus on finding the odor.

The difference in Millie’s confidence from the time of that first class until now is remarkable. Not only has she earned her Canine Good Citizen certification, but she is currently pursuing her NW3 title. What a life changing opportunity that Nose Work has provided Millie.

Written by Amy Mathews

 

As Millie can attest ... The Nose Knows! Check it out!



Ritchie the love bug

Meet Ritchie the 10 lb bundle of love.

Ritchie was rescued from a puppy mill and went from fear biter to therapy dog thanks to the loving kindness of his new mom Cathlin Parker. Read how he's blossomed since his rescue and now helps others who need a little TLC.

Ritchie the love bug

Richie is a ten-pound Yorkie who was saved from a puppy mill in Missouri in the fall of 2011 and arrived at National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado shortly thereafter. Even though he had been a fear biter when first rescued, he soon became one of the friendliest dogs at the NMDR kennel, always jumping up to say hi and rolling over for belly rubs.  

Cathlin Parker adopted him after he had been at the kennel for about a month and a half, and he adapted very quickly to life in a home. He was so friendly and outgoing, especially for a mill dog, that he gave his new mom the idea that he would make a wonderful therapy dog, cheering people up in hospitals and nursing homes. They went through basic and advanced training and, after a few months, Richie passed both the Canine Good Citizen test and then the test to be registered as a therapy dog. He started visiting nursing homes at first, and both the residents and staff loved seeing him and cuddling with him. Since then, Richie and Cathlin have become American Red Cross volunteers at Evans Army Community Hospital on Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, and visit both patients and staff there.

Richie never fails to put a smile on people’s faces, whether they are nursing home residents, kids in the waiting rooms at EACH, or stressed-out staff members. Richie is also a Paws to Read dog at the local library, where kids can practice reading to him as a nonjudgmental listener. You can follow his adventures on his Facebook page, Richie the Love Bug.
Bad weather got you down?

A tired dog makes a good dog, as the saying goes.

Using your dogs brain can be as effective at tiring them out as a romp in the park. So don't let bad weather keep you down, download our free PDF and let the games begin!

Bad weather got you down?

 

A tired dog makes a good dog, as the saying goes.

Your dog is just like a little kid looking out at the rain saying "I'm BORED!" He will turn to you for something to do and if you don't have anything to occupy him, he might make his own busy work. When that happens, you're likely to find that you weren't too pleased with their brilliant idea.

Take a few minutes and play some indoor games with your puppy. Get the kids involved and now you have the whole family entertained.

Using your dogs brain can be as effective at tiring them out as a romp in the park. They are engaged, busy, happy and bonding with you the entire time. When it's all done they will have burned off that energy and you'll find that you and your pup are much happier.

Download our free Foul Weather Games for some great ideas and instructions to play some indoor games.

Let the games begin!

 

 

 

Rebel's Return!
It’s been a long road for Rebel, and this weekend was the end of a long marathon for us both. Rebel completed his heartworm treatment and is finally a healthy dog! To celebrate, we went to the woods for a long walk. I took him on the same path we took over 3 months ago when he first came to stay with me.

Rebel's Return!

 

Rebel standing tall and healthy

It’s been a long road for Rebel, and this weekend was the end of a long marathon for us both. Rebel completed his heartworm treatment and is finally a healthy dog! To celebrate, we went to the woods for a long walk. I took him on the same path we took over 3 months ago when he first came to stay with me.

Now, just as he did then, he trotted the whole way and even ran when the snow would allow us. At one point he stood with his front paws up on a snow bank looking up at a squirrel. I thought I had never seen such a beautiful sight. His back extended upward, neck stretched up, lifting his head and gaze towards the sky, he looked regal and healthy. It was particularly meaningful because I never would have thought the dog who hung his head down at all times, would ever gaze upward.

Rebel’s personality has also come out over the last few months. I’m happy to report his sweetness remains intact. He loves carrying his toys around, he likes to roll on his back and wiggle and when he’s really happy, he does a little hop. He likes to play fight by gently using his mouth and uses his paws to grab your leg. Our once silent boy is now comfortable enough to bark along with the other dogs when someone comes to the door and he’s shown he can be a bit obstinate when he wants to.

One thing that has never changed since day one, is his love for being loved. Starved for affection and desiring to be the center of your dog love is his truest desire. Cuddling on the couch or sleeping on the bed with us is his favorite thing. When he does, he sighs with contentment as he drifts off to sleep.

We have one more minor hurdle and that’s his neuter and dental, before he’s ready to find his forever home. I’m not too worried about it. After all Rebel has been through in his life, I think this will be a piece of cake for him.

Rebel would like to thank everyone who donated to help cover his medical fees. Also everyone in MassARPH, especially Anne Zononi who gave much needed encouragement and moral support and to Kate Olsen for taking him over the holidays and showing him the ocean for the first time in his life. It takes a village, and sometimes a raw marrow bone helps too.

 

Read about Rebel's time with us and see how far he's come in "Rebel" and "A Foster Dog's Journey."

And still more funny dog cartoons
       

And still more funny dog cartoons

 

 

 

 

Stretching isn’t just for humans! Learn 5 easy to do stretches to help keep your dog healthy.
Did you know that stretching is as important as regular exercise? It’s also the most neglected aspect of fitness for most of us, including our dogs. Our dogs play rough and a lack of flexibility, just like in humans, is a recipe for pulled or torn muscles and ligaments. You can't tell a dog to take it easy or to warm up before play. They usually go from 0 - 100 in the blink of an eye. Because of that, stretching is extremely important for them.

Stretching isn’t just for humans! Learn 5 easy to do stretches to help keep your dog healthy.

co-written by Lorena Proia and AnnBeth Chinchillo, PT, CCRP

dogs at play
Photo credit: Heidi Mobley

Did you know that stretching is as important as regular exercise? It’s also the most neglected aspect of fitness for most of us, including our dogs. Our dogs play rough and a lack of flexibility, just like in humans, is a recipe for pulled or torn muscles and ligaments. You can't tell a dog to take it easy or to warm up before play. They usually go from 0 - 100 in the blink of an eye. Because of that, stretching is extremely important for them. To help you, help your dog, we worked with AnnBeth Chinchillo PT, CCRP to create a step by step guide to download for your reference.

It’s never too early or too late to start stretching your dog. While puppies are naturally flexible, they aren’t used to being handled starting young will get them used to it, and they'll enjoy stretching with you. Don’t worry though, if your dog is already a senior citizen, it’s never too late to start. Whatever their age, dogs can maintain and even improve with just a few minutes of stretching each day. When it comes to mobility and pain management, consistency is more important than intensity.

With the help of AnnBeth’s older dog, Baron, we’ll show you 5 stretches that will help improve your dog’s flexibility and help maintain his overall health.

We've created a free PDF that fully details each stretch with photos and directions. We recommend that you download and print these stretches, so that you can have them by your side to follow along as you take your dog through.

What are these stretches and why should I do them with my dog?

1. Hip Extensions and Psoas (Illiopsoas) stretch:
Hip dysplasia and arthritis is very common as dogs age, so stretching into hip extension is important.

2. Hamstring Stretch
Just like in humans, the hamstrings run up the back of the thigh and can get very tight, restricting full extension of the leg. Your dog should be able to stretch fully when running so they avoid injury.

3. Triceps Stretch
Dogs carry more weight on the front limbs than the back. Because of this, the shoulders work very hard and keeping them stretched will keep him comfortable.

4. Sitting squarely
Sitting isn’t just for obedience. Sitting squarely is very beneficial because it stretches the hips, knees, and ankles. (also known as the hocks in dogs)

5. Side Spine stretch
This stretch is especially important as a dog ages because of the natural stiffening of the spine. It is important that the dog bend to each side in order to keep a healthy flexible spine and avoid falling.


We've created a fully illustrated PDF for you to download, read, and use with your dog. Our time with our best friends is precious, so we don't want you spending any of it dealing with painful injuries.

Still More Funny Dog Cartoons
         

Still More Funny Dog Cartoons

 

 

 

 

 

More Funny Dog Cartoons
                       

More Funny Dog Cartoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Foster dog's journey: Rebel's update
Rebel had his final heartworm treatments last week. It was especially rough because h...

A Foster dog's journey: Rebel's update

Rebel had his final heartworm treatments last week. It was especially rough because he had receive treatment two days in a row and the shots are quite painful. It was hard leaving him on the first of his two visits. The last sight of Rebel that morning, was of him with a vet tech who had to practically drag him away as he looked pleadingly at me to save him. It broke my heart.

As bad as that was, day 2 was even worse. That second morning, when we went out to the car, he wouldn’t get in and had to be lifted. At the vet my husband had to practically push him through the door and again, he would not go with the tech. We felt like we were leading the lamb to slaughter, but this time, the lamb knew exactly what awaited him. He didn’t struggle or nip at anyone, instead, he quietly acquiesced to our wishes. If that wasn’t heart breaking enough, when we arrived home that evening, instead of being happy to be there, he didn’t want to get out of the car. Was he afraid of what we might do to him? It simply broke my heart. I coaxed and pleaded with him, promising I wouldn’t let him be hurt again. When I tried to reach for him he laid back to escape my reach. Finally after some tugging on his leash, he decided to move. Once inside the house he looked tentative.

I gave him some pain medication; he ate his dinner and went to lie down. A soft barely audible whimper came from him as he lay in the darkened room. I sat with him, stroking his head wondering how many times he sat, enduring his pain alone. I could only think of all of the people who hurt him in the past. The gun shots, the bullets, the missing teeth, all of the pain he was left to endure alone. I whispered to him telling him he wasn’t alone any more, while wishing he understood me. It was a long night and each soft, almost inaudible cry, broke my heart a little more than the previous one.

Day two was better, but he looked as if his spirit was broken again. It looked as if all of our progress was gone and I felt helpless to tell him we hadn’t abandoned him. Day 3 and 4 passed, and with them, the pain from the injection. On day 5, I saw a little spark return to him. I picked up his leash for a short walk to go potty and he brightened up and did his little happy dance. My heart jumped with delight. I think I was happier than he was quite frankly. Knowing he hadn’t given up meant the world do me.

Rebel began to return to us and started to enjoy his quiet life again. He began carrying his ducky around and came trotting over at the sound of the treat jar. Things had returned to normal and I was thankful that this ever-forgiving soul chose to forgive one more time.

So we continue, Rebel and I, taking pleasure in our short walks, and hopefully giving him reasons to have faith in humans again.

 

Ball Detector
After I lost my dog Phebe one of the first drawings I created was “ball detector”. It...

Ball Detector

After I lost my dog Phebe one of the first drawings I created was “ball detector”. It represented some of my favorite memories with her. When drawing, I could imagine her perfectly and see her on one of our walks in the woods when she would suddenly scamper off and return proudly with a tennis ball. She never ceased to amaze me with that little skill of hers. She adored playing fetch so much that she seemed to find them wherever we went

She found tennis balls at friend’s houses, on college campuses, school yards, golf courses, in the woods, on beaches, … you name a place and she probably found a tennis ball there. I rarely ever bought them because if we ran low, we would simply go down to the tennis courts and I would let her collect as many as she could find in the bushes.

Her gift for finding balls extended to anything I asked her to find and bring back. I would say, “find it” and she would search the area until she found whatever the requested item was. A friend once threw a stick for our dogs and it inadvertently went over an 8 foot high, chain link fence, into the woods. We assumed it was gone, but Phebe watched on alert as it flew, tracking it in the air. When it landed, she was off in a flash to retrieve it. She ran several hundred yards away from us to where the fence ended and then she circled behind, into the woods to find it. I’ll never forget my friend’s exclamation as we watched her. “If she finds that exact stick, I’m going to [insert slightly off color remark about his pants here]! I silently cheered her on as she began her hunt amongst the MILLIONS of sticks in the undergrowth of the woods. “Come on Phebe! You can do it! I know you can!” I shouted, to no one but myself. We watched as she circled, head low sniffing out her quarry. She suddenly stopped, dropped her head into the undergrowth and emerged with … THE EXACT STICK! I was so proud of her I cheered quite audibly this time, “GOOD GIRL PHEBE!” As she ran back down the fence line and around to us I laughed and asked him if he wanted to go home and change his pants. His only remark was “UNBELIEVABLE!” I just smiled and thought, “Believe it.”

She really retrieved anything for me and I honestly didn’t realize how much I relied on her little gift until she was gone. I now had to go out into the yard and bring the dog toys in myself, or retrieve the ball after the other dogs lost interest. Somehow playing fetch was never the same after Phebe died. The Chuck-It that went everywhere with us, began to collect dust as the joy faded from the game.

I cherish the memory of her ability to find and retrieve so well, not only because it was what she loved to do most in life, but because at the very end, it was those very memories that brought her peace. As I held her in my arms, our last moments together, she struggled to breath and seamed agitated as she shifted trying to find a position she could relax in. I don’t know my reasoning really, but I began to tell her what a wonderful dog she was so I could remember all of the wonderful things we did together. Something happened in those moments and we were granted some peace, and what felt like a true understanding on her part. I started, “Do you remember how you could always find a ball no matter where it was? And how you made sure you always found YOUR ball, not some other dog’s ball?” She suddenly began to relax as if to say, “yes, mamma, I do. Tell me more.” I continued and she relaxed her head a little more into my hands as she listened. “Do you remember how we would go for long walks in the woods and you would always find a ball somewhere?” She seemed to miraculously breathe a bit easier as her tension dissipated and she listened to the sound of my voice. Seeing her calm down, I went on hoping it was somehow helping her. I reminisced about how much she loved playing fetch and how she would bring back whatever I asked her to; even the toys the other dogs left in the yard. I remembered other things, like the way she and Jack would take off running for the pure joy of it and always came back from some unexpected direction. I told her how she took care of us all and always made sure I knew if the water bowl was empty, or that it was time for dinner. Each little story helped her relax a bit more and gain some comfort as we reviewed our life together.

She let the weight of her body relax into mine and as the vet approached, I knew our time was at an end. I whispered to her how much I loved her now and for the rest of my days. The doctor began her procedure and as Phebe slipped into sleep, I said, “Run like the wind my baby girl. Run and be free. I will always love you.” I sobbed when she was gone, but I was grateful she was no longer in pain. I knew she was holding on for me, and the last gift I could give her, was to set her free.

Contrary to what you might think, I always feel happy when I look at “ball detector”. I don’t think about losing her, but instead think about our happy days together, finding tennis balls in the woods. There is also a special comfort that comes when someone identifies his or her own dog in my drawing. It makes me happy to know that there are millions of “Ball Detectors” out there, finding joy in every little yellow ball that they discover.

The Fortune Cookie
Years ago I finally found myself in a place where I could get a DOG! I was so excited...

The Fortune Cookie

Years ago I finally found myself in a place where I could get a DOG! I was so excited and had my heart set on a smart one. An Australian Shepherd to be exact. During my search I met a wonderful breeder who had a litter planned that was going to be “bred for brains”. PERFECT! I could see it all… my smart dog would be just like Lassie! She would tell me Timmy fell in the well or that the bad guys were hiding out at the abandoned barn. You know… the usual smart dog things that smart dogs do.

I obviously knew all about smart dogs, so I couldn’t quite understand why the breeder kept asking, “Are you sure?” … of course I was sure! Why did she keep saying this? I knew I wanted a smart dog and would not be deterred.

In her first full day with us, my new puppy Phebe learned “sit”, “leave it”, and began to fetch… she was SO SMART! I beamed like a proud momma. I knew it! She was exactly what I wanted. As time passed however, things began to change. My beautiful smart puppy grew and had more and more energy and fewer puppy naps. Along with that, she had more courage and began testing her world.

My sweet puppy swiftly became an expert in the art of cat (dog) burglary. Every situation became an opportunity in Phebe’s eyes. Shoes, gloves, basically anything that wasn’t nailed down was hers to explore, be it for eating, play or dissection. Even in her “obedience” class she managed to mug a fellow student. Yes, “mug”. On recall, she ran to me, but quickly swerved and in one swift move jumped up, grabbed a woman’s treat bag and ran off with the goods! The room erupted in laughter and I was so embarrassed. My dog was a pickpocket!! “Ok Oliver Twist, give back the bag and let’s go home.” I was pretty sure Lassie didn’t mug people. I was also certain Lassie didn’t break into secured tote bags, open doors and cabinets, climb furniture, shred mail or a myriad of other things that smart dogs actually do.  

I was defeated. My smart dog had me running in circles but I finally understood what “smart,” meant. It meant mischievous, clever, focused on a goal and most importantly, that there was no such thing as an obstacle, just wonderful problems to be solved. I was DEFINITELY in over my head.

The best memory, though, is of Phebe and the fortune cookies. One evening we ordered Chinese food for dinner and I left the take out box with several fortune cookies on the dining room table. That’s it. Napkins, chopsticks, and a few cookies in their wrapper. No real “food”. I ran out for a quick errand and returned to find the contents of the box on the floor.

Now normally a dog would scarf the cookies up, plastic wrappers and all. Others might use a little more finesse and get the wrappers off, but the paper fortune nestled inside each cookie would be in pieces if not completely eaten. Not true for Phebe of course. She meticulously opened the wrappers, ate the cookies, and left the paper fortunes perfectly intact on the floor. As I wondered to myself if she maybe had hidden opposable thumbs I wasn’t aware of; I reached down and picked up a fortune. It read, “Your intelligence and exuberance are often misunderstood.” I burst out laughing. How perfect for her! Yes Phebe, your intelligence and exuberance WERE often misunderstood. Phebe may not have been perfect like Lassie, but if it came to a test of ingenuity and resourcefulness, I think I know who would have come out on top.

I placed her fortune on my refrigerator to always remind me that while a dog’s behavior may be seen as misbehaving, it could also be seen as a smart dog just being smart. It still sits on my refrigerator today, making me smile every time I see it. As they say, be careful what you ask for. You just may get it!

 

 

 

Humor: Dogs and Christmas
   

Humor: Dogs and Christmas

 

 

Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?
Well, Pope Francis is stirring the pot again…in a good way.  He made some recent commen...

Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?

Well, Pope Francis is stirring the pot again…in a good way.  He made some recent comments that have renewed the debate about whether or not dogs (and other animals) go to heaven. 

He said: “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven.  At least that’s how a LOT of people are interpreting it.

“My inbox got flooded,” said Christine Gutleben, senior director of faith outreach at the Humane Society, the largest animal protection group in the United States. “Almost immediately, everybody was talking about it.”

Typically, Catholic doctrine has it that animals cannot go to heaven because they have no soul.  But Pope Francis is giving that notion a run for its money.  Here at Phebe-n-Me, we’re siding with the Pope.

It’s interesting to note that he has an approval rating in the U.S. of 78% according to the Washington Post .  With all this going on, we bet his approval rating among dog owners is around 99%.

 

Read more at:

USA Today

New York Times

Funny Dog Cartoons
And now... a little something to tickle your funny bone.  Get it?!?  Dogs?  Bone?  HA!

Funny Dog Cartoons

 

He was shut down and nothing from this world went in and no response came out. Despite all of this, he was the gentlest, sweetest dog who only wanted to love and be loved.

Rebel

Rebel is my very first foster. A volunteer for ARPH (Australian Shepherd Placement Helpline) did his evaluation and transported him to me last Wednesday night. She tried to tell me what I was getting, and I thought I understood. But I really had no idea.  What walked up my sidewalk to my door was quite possibly the saddest soul I have ever seen. It was if he was a broken dog. Broken in spirit and body.

The rep had assessed that he was deaf and I agreed with her. No response was given to anything. Loud noises, his name... and even the tell tale cookie jar. Nothing. What I had in front of me was a train wreck. A dog who smelled to high heaven because of two raging ear infections and bad teeth, add to that, that he was filthy, his back end was so weak it gave out on him, you could feel his spine and his waist was so thin he would have made Scarlett O'hara jealous; and finally, he walked so slowly with his head hung down that I sincerely thought he wouldn't make it to the corner of my street and back. He was shut down and nothing from this world went in and no response came out. Despite all of this, he was the gentlest, sweetest dog who only wanted to love and be loved. He broke my heart.

So, we began our journey last Wednesday. He started Thursday off with what was most likely the first bath of his life. He was put into a crate – a first. We then went to the vet in the early evening - another first. He had blood drawn and they clipped his extremely long nails. (Just having his nails clipped allowed him to walk a little better.) I picked up some wet food and he finally ate - like a starved dog would. His second day was the same really.

Friday: I noticed some life in his eyes, so later, I decided to take him for a short walk. I didn't think we'd be going far, but he surprised me. He had a little hop in his step and he picked up the pace. Next thing I know he started pulling me along and I was shocked. He did so well on our walk that morning I decided to take him on my usual walk with my guys in the woods up at the Fellsway. I had planned to turn back when I noticed any signs of fatigue but instead, he trotted along the entire 2.6 mile loop, pulling the entire way.

Saturday: I watched for any lameness that night and the next morning. Since I didn’t see any, I decided to take him on a second walk in the same location as the first one. He was bouncing along and sniffing everything he could. Then I noticed something. He was turning when he heard his name! He began reacting to sounds. I was astounded. Rebel could hear!

Sunday: My dogs get up on the bed for cuddles and to try and get me out of bed. I look behind them and Rebel is standing on my bed! I said “How did you get up here?” The dog whose back end was giving out just jumped up onto the bed! WOAH!

Monday: I had bad news. Rebel tested positive for heartworm and his blood levels were off. They wanted him back for x-rays to check his heart and lungs and to draw more blood to decipher the cause of the blood levels.

Tuesday- today: I took him into the vet and they took him in back to do the x-rays and take blood. When my vet returned, he said that Rebel was a good candidate for treatment. No shrinking of the heart and there is some swelling which you would expect with heartworm. He also said the x-rays showed that "He has an alarming amount of bee-bees in him." I was confused. I didn't know if this was a term used for some heartworm stage or something, ... he continued and said "... and a bullet lodged in his chest." It suddenly clicked. Bee-bees.. a bee-bee gun… a bullet… a gun…. they shot at him. I literally covered my gaping mouth with my hand because I was HORRIFIED!

He said they pose no threat, but it gives you a glimpse into what his life was prior to this. I wanted to cry. I really did. He said he's seen dogs with a few bee-bees but never in his life has he seen one riddled with so many as in Rebel. They cover the upper back. His sternum stopped the bullet so it didn't penetrate his chest and also posed no threat. He's an extremely lucky dog to even be alive. I'm just hoping his luck continues.

I then I mentioned how much he's improved over the last few days and my vet said, "they are amazingly resilient if you just give them the opportunity."

Well Rebel... your opportunity is here. We will make you better.

I am thankful I stumbled upon him on Craigslist. I’m thankful I’m part of a group that can help him and I’m honored to watch him unfold like a beautiful flower before my very eyes.

Rebel after one week at our home.
Agility: The Attitude Adjustment
Well it's been a long haul over the past few months. Juno and haven't been able to Q si...

Agility: The Attitude Adjustment

Well it's been a long haul over the past few months. Juno and haven't been able to Q since last year! It was always something. I take my eyes off of her for a split second, didn't support her on a jump, missed contacts, knocked bars, the list goes on and on.

Even when we did have a clean run we didn't Q! There was the judge who called her beautiful running a frame, (video evidence shows that Juno goes to the bottom like a champion) then there is the other judge who called her one step to the side a refusal. -IN THE POURING RAIN mind you. Under those conditions we should have gotten a gold for the Olympic swim team! I was splashing through puddles it was so wet, and her step was to gain footing. I would have pulled her but it started pouring during our run. (great timing)

Then the ultimate frustration: She stopped listening and started ignoring me. She was taking jumps, A-Frames and tunnels even though I'd be yelling HERE! HERE! NOO! HERE!

So, my frustration mounted and I was getting more upset with every run. Every run made my nerves more tense for the next run. Then it all came to a head. I had a really bad run with One off-course after another and we weren’t even half way through. I just stopped leaving the field feling defeated.

I drove home and thought “this is stupid! I've become a grump! No wonder she doesn't want to play!” I realized poor Jujube didn't enjoy agility any more. The following week I saw some photos of us at that trial. She was yawning at the start line, then in the next image she was looking away. The classic signs of stress in a dog. I felt terrible.

I decided that I had lost all perspective. I became the person I disliked. You’ve seen them, those people who get so down from a bad run that their whole body slumps in disappointment. The dog reads it and the handler is too self absorbed in their defeat to see that their dog needs them. The dog needs to know they did well, despite the mistake, because in reality, the dog did the best it could. I was literally ashamed of myself.

What was even worse, is that it was a lesson that I already knew and it seems I had forgotten it. I can’t tell you how many times with my first dog Phebe, it was drilled into my head to never give up on my dog. “Don’t you do that to that dog! She doesn’t deserve that!” Being the first dog I ever had, I didn’t understand what my instructor meant. I wasn’t mad at Phebe, I was mad at myself. “Don’t you give up on that dog!” would be yelled at me after every mistake until one day I figured it out. (I’m a slow learner)

Phebe did her best and my body language didn’t say “Great job!” it said “I’m miserable” which meant whatever she did made me miserable. It meant she somehow failed. I finally got the message and began to say things in a fun, happy up-beat manner no matter what happened. I learned that every time she tried to read my very confused handling, she was doing an amazing job. (Let’s just say I’m not a natural at Agility)

I lay in bed that night and said “forget it. Forget about the stupid Q! What happened to you? You used to understand that it was all for fun! - No more! From now on we let Juno know she’s the best dog on the planet.” The next day at a trial I said "let's go have fun!" I threw the Q out the window and kept a great attitude.

Lo and behold, she improved greatly. I was able to call her off a tunnel trap, (impossible feat the day earlier) she got her contacts and all 12 of the weave poles. I praised her all along the way and not only did she improved, but so did my mood. We didn't Q but I didn’t care. When we were off I kept it upbeat. Even when she took a triple backwards I laughed and was very impressed with her jumping skills. I re-learned a very valuable lesson.

Then came this weekend. We were going to a trial and I told Juno it was all about fun! The little stinker not only Q'd but was so fast I don't even know if I managed to praise her! She got her contacts and paid close attention and so did I. I was shocked. She FINALLY Q'd! I was so happy I was walking on air. Not because of the Q, but because we had both improved. She even came in first, but I didn’t care. I was thrilled that I had my teammate back.

The jumpers course later that day was very hard. It had tight turns, difficult angles and a few spots where I thought, ok… I have no idea how this spot will go. I did my best walking it and  again I told myself we need to keep it fun. I was more concerned that I remembered to keep it upbeat if we went off-course that I wasn't particularly concerned about the myriad of traps. We stepped to the line and I said “Let’s go have fun Juno!” and off we went!

I think I managed one "good girl" because it was all so fast. I was practically silent for most of it especially with the blind crosses because she was so in sync and I was just trying to keep up. I was totally lost at one point because the jumps were so close, but she took the correct jump, which showed me where I was. Because of my delay she was heading towards the wrong jump and I yelled HERE! Instead of ignoring me, she switched on a dime and we finished with another Q for her Excellent JWW title! She even finished with another first but more importantly, I learned a valuable lesson.

I realized I had somehow forgotten what I thought was already well-learned. Every run has to be fun for me and my dog and a positive experience or it's not worth doing agility. The Q is simply gravy. I was so happy to have my teammate back that I was walking on air. I’m not sure how Juno felt about it, but I think she had much more fun than she was having before.

My little Juju had her ju-ju back!

 

 

 

X
Dogs in the News - A Very, Very Expensive Dog
OK, we admit this is a beautiful dog: But would you pay $2,000,000 for it?!? That’s ...

Dogs in the News - A Very, Very Expensive Dog

OK, we admit this is a beautiful dog:

But would you pay $2,000,000 for it?!? That’s “two mmm…mmm…mmm…million” dollars.

Apparently, last month, some guy in the eastern China province of Zhejiang did, setting a record price for a dog. The Associated Press writes that Tibetan Mastiffs are the ”dog of the moment. Its ownership has come to symbolize wealth and status as much as a new car or an ostentatious mansion.”

According to Sui Huizheng, the breeder who made the sale, his dogs “have lion’s blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs. Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high.”

Yeah, right.

I don’t know about you, but this one certainly has us scratching our heads…

Read more at:

The Washington Post

Fox News

Getting lucky
Sometimes in life you get lucky. You may stumble upon your luck, adopt it, or even plan...

Getting lucky

Sometimes in life you get lucky. You may stumble upon your luck, adopt it, or even plan and research for years. Regardless of how you came upon it, you got lucky. Fate brought you to your once in a lifetime dog. The perfect dog. The dog that touches your heart in ways you can’t even describe to people.

 

Phebe was that dog for me. She grabbed my heart from the moment I looked at her, and never let it go. She was my Lassie, and my Rin Tin Tin, with a dash of Einstein and Lucille Ball for spice. I was definitely in over my head with this girl and she had me coming and going.

Throughout our journey together she taught me that the best things in life are the simple things. Greet those you love with enthusiasm when they come home, love them fiercely, defend them bravely and above all, make them give you treats. I learned that not only can you laugh every day, but forgiving is easy and sweetness and love can melt the most hardened of hearts.

When you get lucky in life with a wonderful dog, every day is a celebration. Even your sad times have a smile, and tears are kissed away. Phebe introduced me to the wonderful experiences that only a dog can bring and as a designer, she inspired me to draw her escapades. Through her, I learned to see the world through doggy eyes and found that the world is a wonderful place to be.

Unfortunately dogs don’t live forever but for me, she lives on through Phebe-n-Me. Phebe and her many dog friends continue to inspire me and have brought love and laughter to people all over the globe. Above all, she always reminds me that it’s ok to wear your heart on your sleeve.

 

I miss you my girl.

xoxoxo
Ladies and Gentlemen! The Winner is...
This just in!  The Labrador retriever was the nation’s most popular dog breed last year...

Ladies and Gentlemen! The Winner is...

This just in!  The Labrador retriever was the nation’s most popular dog breed last year for the 23rd year in a row, the American Kennel Club announced. That’s the longest any breed has been top dog since the organization’s founding in 1884.

According to the group's spokeswoman Lisa Peterson, “It does so many different things really well, it excels as a family companion, it’s an awesome hunting dog, and it also has a great presence as a service and law-enforcement search-and-rescue dog,”

As you would expect, German shepherds, golden retrievers, beagles, and bulldogs are holding steady in the top-five pack, with Yorkshire terriers, boxers, poodles, Rottweilers, and dachshunds continuing to round out the leading 10, which is the same as last year. But watch out!  The French bulldog is newly on their heels after a decade-long popularity spurt. 

Read the full story at:

CBS

Today's Pet

 

 

You know the commercials, right?  The most interesting man in the world talking about h...

Most Interesting Man in the World is Up to Something Interesting

You know the commercials, right?  The most interesting man in the world talking about his exploits in the hope that you’ll buy some Dos Equis beer.  And apparently a lot of us did, because the commercials have been wildly successful.

Interesting side note: Do you remember the commercial a while back with the line “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”?  Quick!  Name that product!  Most people can’t.  Because of the failure to tie it to the product, it’s a prime example of a poorly constructed advertising campaign.  If you’re interested, here it is.  How about “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.  Oh, what a relief it is”?  Of course, that’s Alka-Seltzer“Brand recall” is a very important aspect of advertising.

Anyway, back to the most interesting man in the world, who happens to be 75 year-old actor Jonathan Goldsmith, of Manchester, VT.  And he happens to care about dogs.  He and the nearby Orvis Company are active supporters of the Morris Animal Foundation and are together helping them raise money to fight cancer in dogs.  Goldsmith, the owner of two Anatolian shepherds, lost a beloved pet to cancer and is using his newfound fame to help a very worthy cause.

And if you have a dog, check out the Orvis Cover Dog contest fundraiser here. 

Watch Jonathan’s commercial on YouTube

You can learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation by visiting their website.

 

As you might imagine, we talk about dogs all the time here at Phebe 'n' Me.  And so hav...

Great Quotes About Dogs

As you might imagine, we talk about dogs all the time here at Phebe 'n' Me.  And so have some very famous people throughout the years.  Here are some witty and heartwarming favorites of ours.

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”  — Will Rogers

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”  ― Mark Twain

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons. ”  ― James Thurber

“You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’”  — Dave Barry

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”  ― Doris Day

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”  — Emily Dickinson

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”  — Robert A. Heinlein

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”  ― Groucho Marx

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”  ― Marilyn Monroe

“The more boys I meet the more I love my dog.”  ― Carrie Underwood

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”  — Andy Rooney

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”  — Ann Landers

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”  ― Aldous Huxley

 

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs in the News - You Smell What?!?

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

OK, we all know dogs rely on their sense of smell to interpret their world, in much the same way as people depend on sight. And it’s interesting to note why they do: a human nose has about 5 million scent receptors, while a typical Dachshund has 125 million. And a Bloodhound has around 300 million. It’s estimated that some dogs can detect odors at 1/10,000th the level of their owners.

Which may explain why Elvis, a 2 year-old Beagle in Kansas can smell pregnancies. Polar bear pregnancies to be precise.

Polar bears are an endangered species, and when kept in zoos, false pregnancies are common. The zookeepers make extensive preparations for the arrival of the cubs, so knowing for sure is important. And they need help: last year only 3 U.S. polar bears in captivity gave birth.

So Elvis was taught to recognize a protein in fecal samples that is only present when a polar bear is pregnant, truly pregnant

"We didn't even know if this was possible," said Matt Skogen, Elvis’ owner. But he was approached by Erin Curry, from the Cincinnati Zoo's Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife, and he was willing to test the idea.

Now Elvis is assisting zoos nationwide while maintaining an amazing 97 percent accuracy. But Elvis has never met a polar bear. Instead, he sniffs samples sent to him from zoos around the country, all of whom are anxious to know whether they can expect a little cub or not.

Read the full story:

The Washington Post

CBS News

 

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs In the News – The Dog Ate My…Money?!?

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

OK, what could you do with $500?  Buy a new coat?  Make a couple car payments?  Have dinner for two at a world-class 5-star restaurant?  Put it in the bank?  How about let your dog eat it?

That’s what accidentally happened in Helena Montana to Wayne Klinkel when his golden retriever, Sundance, ate a wad worth $500.  According to newspaper reports, nothing was left but “one intact dollar bill and a small piece of a single $100 note.”

So Wayne did what every dog owner does when something gets eaten that shouldn't: he collected Sundance’s droppings to get back his money.  He cleaned it, taped together many of the pieces and he returned it to the U.S. Government.  Seriously.  There’s a Mutilated Currency Division within the U.S. Treasury, that made good on Wayne’s efforts and sent him $500 to replace the mutilated notes.

I never knew about this.  According to the U.S. Treasury website, “Each case is carefully examined by an experienced mutilated currency examiner.”  I bet THAT examiner had a bad day at the office when he or she opened Wayne’s package.

I wonder if the U.S. Government has a division that replaces dog-digested homework?!?

 

Read the full story:

Reuters 

ABC News

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs in the News - Dummy Dogs

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

I don't mean “dummy” as in “dumb”, I mean “dummy” as in crash test dummies.  Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Va., are together working on a new line of pet restraint systems and to test them they need to do what auto and safety experts have been doing all along: crash the cars and measure the effects.  On dummies. Dog crash test dummies.

They made a 45-pound border collie, a 25-pound terrier mix, and a 75-pound golden retriever.  (Which got me thinking, “What…they don’t care about my Aussies?!?”)

 

 

Bark Buckle Up,  a pet safety advocacy group claims “A 60-pound pet becomes a 2,700 pound projectile, at just 35 mph.” And according to the Wall St. Journal  claims a calculation by motorist-advocacy group AAA, shows that a 10-pound unrestrained dog in a 30 mph crash will exert around 300 pounds of force.

I remember when cars didn’t have seatbelts and when they did, people often didn’t use them.  With an estimated 85% of drivers now using seatbelts, maybe the day isn’t far off when we’ll all buckle up our pets as well.

Let's hear from our readers: Do you buckle up your pets?

Read the full story

Wall Street Journal

USA Today

 

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs in the News - Dog Poop: Better than Congress?

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

I’ve always wanted to use ‘dog poop’ and ‘Congress’ in the same sentence.  I knew if I waited long enough I would get my chance, and here it is.

A recent poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democrat-favorable North Carolina firm that promotes itself as "highly accurate polling across the country" surveyed 502 voters this past week on their opinions of Congress.  

 

 

 

Of the respondents, 47% had a more favorable opinion of dog poop while only 40% preferred Congress.  13% were undecided, which might lead one to wonder how people like that are allowed to vote.  

We think that’s pretty funny, and certainly in keeping with my views.  But at Phebe-n-Me we all love dogs, so just about anything having to do with them is better than Congress in my opinion, even the nasty bits.

Interestingly, people had such a low opinion of Congress that witches, hemorrhoids, cockroaches and toenail fungus all scored higher.  Again, all of which I personally agree with, except for the toenail fungus.  That stuff is GROSS!  So I’m told…

NOTE: As of this writing, we're in the midst of a government shutdown due to Congress' inability to pass a budget.

 

Read the full story:

USA Today

CBS

 

See the survey results:

Public Policy Polling Survey

 

 

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs In The News – Can’t get much smaller

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

Another world record has been shattered! At coffee shops, hair salons, bars and even on the floor of the U.S. Senate (really), people are talking. No it’s not some incredible Olympic feat. It’s not some major league sports figure hitting another home run or completing another touchdown pass.

In an upset the likes of which will have dog lovers reeling, Boo Boo the reigning smallest living dog in the world (based on height) according to the Guinness Book of World Records has been unseated by Miracle Milly, a 2 year-old, 3.8 inch Chihuahua from Puerto Rico.

Wow…that’s small!

BTW, in case you’re wondering: the tallest dog in the world is Zeus, a Great Dane that measures 3’8” standing.

And speaking of Chihuahuas and Great Danes, here’s an interesting pic of both:

Read the full story:

NBC News

Huffington Post

Milly’s Facebook page

 

 

 

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funn...

Dogs in the News – Dog Art Gone Crazy

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

I admit, I’m not a big art lover.  I think a black light and a poster of a unicorn by a waterfall is pretty cool.  Fine art?  I can enjoy it.  A museum?  Sure.  The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC?  Loved it.  I saw Michelangelo’s David in Florence, along with the Sistine Chapel and works by Botticelli and da Vinci.  Amazing stuff that everyone can appreciate.  At the other end of the spectrum, I really enjoyed the Museum of Bad Art right down the road from my home here in Somerville, MA.  But c’mon…how much would you pay for THIS?!?

How about $55M? 

No kidding.  That’s what this sculpture called “Balloon Dog” is expected to fetch when well-known American artist Jeff Koons puts it up for sale later this year.  And people in the know think he can get it.  After all, he sold a piece called “Tulips”  for $33.7M last year.

And get this: he made 5 Balloon Dog sculptures.  He’s selling just one of them.  $55M and it’s not even a one-of-a-kind.  Who in their right mind would pay that kind of money for this?   Crazy stuff.

 

Read the full story:

The Inquisitr

New York Post

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs In The News - Lions and China and Zoos Oh My!

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

When I go to a zoo, I’m awed when I come face-to-face with an African lion. I imagine that’s true for many people the world over, except for visitors at The People’s Park of Luohe in the Chinese province Henan, (click here for map) many of whom who were shocked when their African Lion barked! It turns out they didn’t have a lion on display because they couldn’t afford one. So they did what any reasonable person in that position would do: they put a Tibetan mastiff in the lion cage. And their deception didn’t stop there, instead of exotic animals, dogs were found posing as a timber wolf and a leopard.

At least one mother was furious. Liu Wen who was at the zoo, said: “I had my young son with me so I tried to play along and told him it was a special kind of lion.

“But then the dog barked and he knew straight away what it was and that I'd lied to him.”

Zoo staff apologized, and to make amends, Mr. Liu Suya, chief of the park's animal department offered refunds to angry visitors.

Read the full story:

The Huffington Post

ABC News

TNT Magazine

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny...

Dogs In The News - Condos, Poop, and DNA

(These are notable, true stories from the mainstream press. Whether heartwarming, funny, perplexing, or touching, they all serve to remind us how dogs are so entwined in our lives, and sometimes in unique and unusual ways.)

At The Devon Wood Condominiums in Braintree, Massachusetts, a town of 36,000 residents, located about 10 miles south of Boston, (click here for map) General Manager Barbara Kansky now demands that all owners pay $50 and submit a sample of their dog’s feces so that they can have a DNA database with which to catch owners who don’t clean up after their pet. Offenders get slapped with a fine of $150.

“Some people thought it was a joke.” Kansky told a reporter.

Rather than being outraged, some residents are taking it in stride, like dog owner Jim Burke who said “I was a little upset at first having to pay for it, but I do understand it was a problem."

And here’s my favorite part. Apparently, this is happening all over: the DNA matching is done by a national company called PooPrints. If you think this is the start of something big you can get a piece of it.  They are looking for home-based distributors.  Check it out at http://www.pooprints.com/start-a-pet-business

Read the full story:

CBS Local - Boston

The Patriot Ledger newspaper

Wicked Local

Yes it’s that time of year again! … who knew?? I sure didn’t. Far be it from me to decr...

Happy National Dog Day!

Yes it’s that time of year again! … who knew?? I sure didn’t. Far be it from me to decry National Dog Day, but I find it funny that a Congress who can’t agree on the price of bread can agree on National Dog Day.

Why is this? Well it’s obvious of course. Dogs bring out the best in people. They take us out of our entrenched preconceived notions and help us to come to the moment. They help us live better lives and be better people. So when an ornery bunch of old men and women get together to discuss if we should have a National Dog Day, for one brief moment, they can think of their loving dog they had as a child, or the one who is waiting patiently at home. It's a dog that makes them smile and forget the rest of the world for a brief moment. So, when they think of that special dog, they know that those precious moments are worthy of voting YES on National Dog Day. For those in Congress too cold to have ever owned a dog, or that never will own a dog, they are at least smart enough to know that their constituents do have them and probably think it’s no skin off their nose to vote for it.

What two things could be more diametrically opposed than the most disliked Congress in America and the most loved domestic animal, the dog? Not much as far as I’m concerned, but I am glad that they got their act together for one brief shining moment and we now have National Dog Day.

We celebrated with a walk down to J.P. Licks and got our dogs each a Cow Paw. So Happy National Dog day everyone! We hope you enjoy it!

I recently read a blog that was railing against over socializing puppies. The author co...

Puppy Socialization. One size does not fit all.

I recently read a blog that was railing against over socializing puppies. The author complained about people bringing puppies to play groups, to shopping centers, to dog parks… all things we’ve heard should be good for dogs.

While I disagree that you can “over socialize” a dog, I do think the use of common sense is necessary when bringing a new puppy into your life.

 

The premise of over socializing is that puppies are overwhelmed and become more timid than had they been able to avoid the entire situation. Also it was pointed out that a puppy should “never, ever, ever be brought to a dog park!”

 

Well, yes and no. I believe this may be true for some dogs, but definitely not all. Some puppies are outgoing and tenacious in spirit, where others are timid and wary of new situations. Like many things in life, common sense goes a long way and the same applies to your new puppy. While your new family member may be a wild and crazy guy at home, he may be very reserved in new situations. You need to gauge his or her socialization accordingly. Is he hanging back near you, looking for safety, or bounding forward wanting to play? Look at your puppies face. Are the ears forward and alert? Are his eyes gazing directly at the situation and is there a general look of anticipation? If yes, you have a puppy that is eager to engage. If you find his ears are back, his eyes are looking away and there is a general “worried” look about him, then the situation is too much for your puppy.

 

I’ve had both kinds of puppies in my life and I have to say that the timid puppy is much more work, but that is when socialization is extremely important. My boy was outgoing and playful with his sister at home and after a few weeks we took a walk to get some energy out. I live in an urban area with a bike path that runs behind my house. He met a very calm Collie and he sniffed the collie and SCREAMED bloody murder!! The Collie did nothing to provoke this reaction, but my puppy Ted was terrified. I knew immediately we needed to work on this so I began by seeking out a professional. We had a private session and with much effort and help on her part we began a campaign of socialization. However, this campaign did not consist of throwing him into playgroups. It was very controlled. He did play with puppies at a trial, but only calmer puppies and he was given the option of opting out. Some puppies he did not like, and other’s he did. I brought him near situations, but not into them. He was given treats and praise for being a brave puppy. We went into pet stores, but he wasn’t dragged down any isles. I picked him up if he seemed overwhelmed. When people wanted to pet him I gave them treats and explained he was extremely timid. I asked the to get down to his level and toss treats at him. In short, we went at his pace. I made a concerted effort to expose him slowly because his body language was very clear when he was feeling overwhelmed.

 

Now he is a well-adjusted young dog, but he still gets overwhelmed.  I watch him at the park and if one or more overly assertive dogs get in his face I can see the worry and fear he exhibits. I call him to me and we move on. Sometimes he’s not able and I will either ask the owner to get their dog or I will remove the dog myself and cheerfully take Teddy away. I do this in order to prevent Teddy from being in a situation where he is pushed past his limit. His limits are much shorter than other dogs but as he matures and with the help of others in his life we have a healthy, happy dog.

 

Now take his counterpoint Juno. When she got off the plane as a puppy, she marched through the airport like she owned it.  At 10 weeks I took her to see agility equipment. She took one look at the full height A-frame and to my horror, ran up it as if she had been doing it for years. At puppy play groups I had to pull her out and give her a time out because she was too much for most puppies.  In this case I was reading the other dogs, and seeing that my puppy was the problem child. Once her shots were done we did go to the dog park with Jack and Juno and she had a blast. I didn’t throw her into all of the adult dogs but our little pack played and she met other dogs who were interested and other young puppies as well. Phebe and Jack were also there to intervene if a dog gave Juno a cross look and between the three of us, her visits to the dog park were quite successful.

 

Both dogs were of the same breed, same age and yet they took situations completely differently. They will always approach new situations differently, it’s just who they are as dogs. Juno rushes up to everyone assuming they are her best friend, while Ted hangs back, not so sure of strangers. Once comfortable, he’s as happy go lucky as she is. So I disagree with the premise of “never, ever, ever taking a puppy to a dog park”. I also don’t believe in throwing a puppy into just any situation either. Use your common sense and watch your dog and I believe you will be successful. He will tell you what he wants to do and if he’s comfortable.

 

If you find your dog is overly timid, consult a professional and they can give you a great set of tools to socialize you new puppy. Always remember to listen to your dog and remember that no two puppies are alike. What may have been great for your first dog may not be at all appropriate for your new friend.